Don Hackett's Reviews > Started Early, Took My Dog

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
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Nov 05, 2011

really liked it

Jackson is back, after having been on the wrong train, in a coma, or semi-clueless for most of When Will there be Good News. He is not on his best game, wandering and wondering where to make his home, who to make it with, and where is the woman who married him and then disappeared with his money. He does a little part time investigating, this time looking for the birth parents of a woman who grew-up with adoptive parents who moved to New Zealand right after she was adopted. Though there are some comic complications, including another private detective whose last name is Jackson, there are more touches of sadness. The repeated theme is loss: Jackson's money, the two or three wives, and the two children who are not growing up with him; the woman who retires from the police force having worked her way up from to streets being tougher than the boys, to find herself alone; and her boss, whose daughter and grandchild died in an automobile accident with his son-in-law driving drunk.

Jackson does find a new relationship with a dog he rescues from an abuser with a sucker punch. We are told, and we see, that he has become harder on the outside and softer on the inside. This character development in the action is an example of how Kate Atkinson has a good shot at being seen in the long run to write crime fiction that is not just literate but literature.
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